Judges 9:4

4 They gave him seventy shekels[a] of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers.

Judges 9:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.
ESV
4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him.
NLT
4 They gave him seventy silver coins from the temple of Baal-berith, which he used to hire some reckless troublemakers who agreed to follow him.
MSG
4 They gave him seventy silver pieces from the shrine of Baal-of-the-Covenant. With the money he hired some reckless riff-raff soldiers and they followed along after him.
CSB
4 So they gave him 70 pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-berith. Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men with this money, and they followed him.

Judges 9:4 Meaning and Commentary

Judges 9:4

And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of
Baalbirith
The temple of their idol; of this name (See Gill on Judges 8:33), out of the money which had been dedicated to his service by freewill offering, or out of a bank which they deposited there for greater safety, and perhaps out of a superstitious notion of its being more prosperous and successful: of what value these pieces were is not certain; by pieces of silver, commonly shekels are meant; but these are thought to be of too little value to be given to a man to raise an army with, or carry on a scheme to advance himself to the throne; and talents are judged to be too large a sum for such a city to contribute out of a temple of theirs, and that but lately built, as it must be since the death of Gideon; they are therefore thought to be pounds, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it; however, in the number of them there seems to be some reference to the number of Gideon's sons, who were to be destroyed by bribing men with this sum, which was the scheme concerted between Abimelech and the men of Shechem;

wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him;
perhaps seventy of them, giving to each a piece or pound of silver; these were a base scoundrel sort of people, that lived in an idle scandalous manner, a sort of freebooters, that lived upon what they could lay hold on in a way of force and rapine; men of light heads and empty brains, and whose pockets were as light and empty as their heads, and fit to engage in any enterprise, though ever so barbarous, for the sake of a little money.

Judges 9:4 In-Context

2 “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.”
3 When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.”
4 They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers.
5 He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding.
6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S Judges 8:33
  • 2. Judges 11:3; 1 Samuel 25:25; 2 Chronicles 13:7; Job 30:8

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. That is, about 1 3/4 pounds or about 800 grams